Arlington student raising funds for classmate's service dog

A high school student took it upon herself to help her friend who is living with diabetes. His family can't afford the expensive service dog that can give them some peace of mind.

Payton Stevens has always wanted a dog. But the Grace Prep Academy baseball player lives with cystic fibrosis and was diagnosed with diabetes seven years ago.

The dog Payton needs is a specially-trained service dog. If his blood sugar drops too low while he's sleeping, he could slip into a coma. Currently, his parents check on him at night. But a diabetic service dog could smell changes in his blood and would alert him or his parents.

"And if my blood sugar drops and they're still sleeping, something can go wrong. And with this dog, that'll definitely help,” Payton said.

Unfortunately, the $35,000 cost has always been a barrier. But then, his friend, Molly Davis, heard about it.

“In December I just had this idea,” she said. “I was like let's put together a fundraiser and get him the $35,000 that he needs to get the diabetes dog before he gets to college."

The fundraiser will be a dance-a-thon.

"From noon to midnight, they're going to stay on their feet moving around and dancing,” Molly explained.

“Then, it just took off in a lot of people come up to me and said, ‘Hey, when is this dance-a-thon thing?’ And I was kind of shocked how many people knew about it,” Payton said.

Students, staff, and parents have been collecting pledges.

"This can really be a health benefit as well as a convenience for his parents,” Molly said. “And he will be able to sleep good at night when he goes to college."

Payton's father, John Stevens, says this kind of generosity is life changing.

"It's hard to put words around it. It really is,” John said. “Thank you. You can't say thank you enough. It's really hard."

"There's always something you can do about it. For me, I like to help people,” Molly said. “But I had a resource to use. And this resource, I'm using it. And I'm going through the school, and I'm doing everything that I can to get people involved and to get people to donate because it's possible."

The Stevens family would apply for the dog. If accepted, it would take anywhere from a year-and-a-half to two years to train the dog to help Payton.

The dance-a-thon is Saturday. The school is accepting pledges on its website.